Again, two days turns into three boondocking at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

As Cormac* mentioned in the last post, travelling from Tucson Mountain to Lake Mead’s north shore in Nevada was our single longest travel day yet in the Big Kahuna.  Everything takes longer in an RV, especially when your diesel engine only makes 28 mph on uphill grades of any significant length or steepness, thus our eight hour journey which might have taken only six in a car.  The reality is that Lake Mead was not the intended destination, it was just a stopping point on the way to Death Valley National Park in California.  That journey would have added another three hours, so we decided to break it up.  But even that plan was an alteration of the original schedule, which had us going to Joshua Tree National Park first.  As Joshua Tree is particularly popular this time of year the campgrounds fill up quick on the weekends.  Therefor we made the decision to change the routing such that we would hit the popular national parks on the weekdays and less popular, or at least more accessible, places on the weekends.

The bottom corner of Nevada, but Nevada none the less

The bottom corner of Nevada, but Nevada none the less

Once again we consulted the campground history on Wheeling It, which lead us to the Government Wash site on Lake Mead.  We arrived at dusk, which made finding the spot harder than necessary, and we made one false turn down Gypsum Wash, but caught our error right away (the “camping prohibited” sign sort of helped), turned around and continued on to the correct road heading down towards Lake Mead.

Panoramic of the Government Wash camping areas

Panoramic of the Government Wash camping areas

Government Wash starts as a couple of miles of paved road which ends in a large circular parking lot, with a hard packed dirt road leading off the lake side edge that soon diverges into three: high right, medium center, and low left.  The next morning in clear light we would learn that the high right road is generally furthest from the lake shore, but offers a handful of private spots and one medium sized cul-de-sac for several rigs.  The center road gets closer to the lake, and has about 10 private single sites and one very large cu-de-sac suitable for 15 or more rigs.  The lower side goes closest to the lake, but is also the roughest and most challenging road for a large RV.  We knew none of this when we pulled in the fading light, and simply picked the right hand road as it looked widest and pulled in to one of the first spots available.

Our view, fantastic but awning absolutely required here

Our view, fantastic but awning absolutely required here

The next morning, once we had a chance to view the entire area, we repositioned The Big Kahuna to the center road area which got us closer to the Lake and in our own, private, very large and level spot with an excellent lake and mountain view.  Despite the desert heat, we had a nice, continuous breeze, and with the awning providing shade it was more than tolerable, pleasant even.  We did a full site set up, pulling out tables and chairs, grill and hammock.  We had such a relaxing day, intermixing some bus adjustments and other needed choirs, that we extended our two day stay into three.   Rosemarie pulled out the beads and jewelry making supplies, I swam in Lake Mead, and we sat outside each evening watching the growing star field, dancing by moonlight, and listening to the coyotes yip and howl.

On our first morning we counted approximately 45 RVs plus many single vehicles there for the day and a handful of tent campers.  By the time we left Monday morning the crowd hand dwindled to maybe a dozen RVs, reenforcing the importance or arriving early, before the weekend, at first come first serve sites if you want a good spot, or a spot at all.

Us, Lake Mead, perfect weather

Us, Lake Mead, perfect weather

* Not really Cormac

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